Friday, 30 August 2013

Argan Oil - Liquid Gold



















Asalam waliykum, 
I really wanted to write about this, sort of related to my Moroccan Haul post that I will be up in the next couple of days. I love Argan Oil and hopefully after reading this you will see how amazing this stuff really is. For the last couple of years I have been on a quest to only use natural products, as much as possible anyway. And I remembered Morocco is full of natural cosmetic products, that are reasonably priced and 100% natural, no chemicals no harmful nasties, and no preservatives etc. I initially started to use Extra virgin olive oil for my hair and skin and you can buy the top quality stuff from the shops and use it only for cosmetic use. It is great for removing makeup, on sensitive skin, heals scarring, has anti bacterial properties. So if you are not able to get your hands on Argan Oil I highly reccomend using extra virgin olive oil instead. 

Argan Oil is a rare and precious commodity and has been used in the beauty rituals of Moroccan women since forever. Argan trees grow in the semi-desert area of south western Morocco and they produce fruit smaller than apricots. They only grow in Morocco, that is why it is so expensive and hard to get your hands on. If you go to Morocco as a tourist and wish to get your hands on the real deal, then make sure you take a trip to Essaouira which is 3/4 hours from Marrakech and just north of Agadir. Within the old walls of the Kasbah are many "boutique" stores selling Argan. Here you will find the cheapest Argan and pretty much everything is cheaper in Essaouira so do all your souvenir shopping there. 
Anyway, back to the Argan, goats find this fruit so delicious they are willing to climb the prickly Argan trees to get at it. In the past, the pits from the goat’s droppings were cracked open and the kernels inside were pressed to make Argan Oil. The journey through the digestive system of a goat is not a necessary step in the process of making quality Argan Oil. Perhaps after reading this this would put some of you off? Goats also damage Argan trees as they climb them which can cause problems for producers of this wonderful oil. 

How it’s made:

Argan Oil is not made from a nut, even though it has a very distinct nutty aroma. Argania spinosa trees are fruit bearing, and Argan Oil is made from the kernel inside of the pit of the fruit. So for all those allergy sufferers out there this product is nut-free 










  

 



The extraction of the oil from that kernel inside the fruit is done by hand in most places in Morocco. This hand extraction process is very time consuming. Unfortunately  due to demand this is being replaced with machinery, however, there are societies in Morocco who are trying to preserve this traditional means of extraction. 
The fruit of the Argan tree is green in early spring and then turns gold and falls from the tree. At that point it is then picked up and opened. The outer layer of fruit is often given to local goats. The pits are then allowed to dry in the marvelous Moroccan sun.
Then the hard work really begins. Each pit is cracked between two stones. The kernels are then removed, crushed in a mortar with a pestle, and then ground into a thick paste by hand with a stone quern. The paste is then squeezed to produce the oil. The solid part of the paste is used as animal feed or a type of soap. This process can take hours and is repeated until only oil is extracted. 


There are two varieties of Argan Oil. Some is for cooking purposes and some is for cosmetic use. If the oil is to be used in cuisine, the kernels are roasted before grinding. This brings out the delicious nutty flavour in the oil. Roasted kernels produce a lot more oil than un roasted kernels. This is why culinary Argan Oil is less expensive than cosmetic, However is still suitable for cosmetic use it just means more is to be used. 
Although, Argan Oil for cosmetic use is made from raw, unroasted pits. It, too, has a bit of a green, nutty aroma when you first apply it, but that scent completely disappears within a few minutes. I quiet like the smell personally. 
Beware of “deodorized” Argan Oil. The process used to take the aroma out of the oil is said to damage the miraculous abilities of pure, unaltered Argan Oil which is what you will find in most cosmetic products in your local shops. 



Argan Oil is made up of unsaturated fatty acids (essential fatty acids), Vitamin E/tocopherols, squalene and sterols. Each of these components is unique and useful for different reasons. Some act as antioxidants, while others help with chronic inflammation. Some properties are even known for their ability to protect against skin cancer and for being anti-tumorigenic. However most of us want to use it for its anti-ageing properties. It is also great to use on scar tissue, stretch marks, acne scarring etc. Also works beautifully in the hair, use as a mask or as a leave in conditioner after you shower and feel the difference. 

  • It has twice as much vitamin E as olive oil and is rich in anti-oxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and prevent skin damage.
  • It is 80% unsaturated and contains eight essential fatty acids including Omega 6, which can’t be produced by the body. It helps prevent loss of moisture from the skin, nose, lungs, digestive system and brain. EFAs also help the formation of prostaglandins, some of which reduce pain and swelling and others improve circulation and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
  • It contains rare plant sterols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help conditions such as arthritis.
  • It contains saponins, which soften the skin and ease acne and eczema and it restores the skin’s water lipid layer, helping to minimize wrinkles.
  • It can help protect the heart, liver and gall bladder.
  • It aids digestion by increasing the amount of peptin in digestive fluids.
  • It’s reputed to be an aphrodisiac.
I found this video on you tube Argan Oil, it is the only one I could find without music, it shows a step by step process with some explanation. 

I think that has covered the Argan Oil topic in depth rather well. In sha Allah be showing the Argan Oil I got from Morocco soon. 
Jazaka Allah khier, hope you enjoyed this post, do let me know what you think, like and share, share share.

Wasalam -x- 


4 comments:

  1. Wow the oil seems like an amazing thing. Shame it is so expensive and hard to get. I will keep my eyes open for it online.

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  2. Salam alaikum salwa,

    JazakAllah Khair for such a beneficial post, I would love to get my hands on some of the pure argan oil as my daughter has eczema.
    A friend of mine brought me back some algerian olive oil, it's totally different (better, stronger) than the 'extra virgin' you buy here in supermarkets.

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  3. @Kim Waliykum Asalam.

    There is an Ebay store, a friend of mine swears by the products and say they are real. So in Sha Allah you should try them.http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/morocco-market/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

    Yeap I agree my parents just bought back 5 litres of Olive oil fresh from the farm. :D Can not wait to start using it... if they let me hehehe.


    Also great for Eczma is Caster oil. Not sure if you can get in the UK. But my mama got me some from Morocco. I will be blogging about it in the next few days in Sha Allah.

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  4. @CrazyHijabi- You should try Ebay also here is the link :http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/morocco-market/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

    ReplyDelete

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